13 November 2018

What is a Digital Transformation Strategy?

 

We talk about digital transformation a lot here at Storm.

After all, it’s the beating heart of what we do – we help businesses change their processes by putting digital first. It’s so important to us, battling complacency is one of our core values.

But, while it’s all well and good saying your business needs to adapt to survive, how exactly do you go about doing that? It all comes down to having a comprehensive digital transformation strategy.

Wait, what does digital transformation mean again?

Before we get into the intricacies of building a digital transformation strategy for your business, let’s remind ourselves what it actually means in the first place.

We definite it in greater detail here, but it essentially refers to the fundamental change businesses must undertake to embrace technology. Thanks to the likes of disruptors like Amazon, consumers are expecting more from your digital services. Bricks and mortar simply aren’t enough anymore, you need to have an online presence and a good one at that.

Brad and Gordon on the couch

But, digital transformation isn’t just what your customers see – to be truly successful, every aspect of your business should be aligned towards the same digital goals. This can range from updating the technology you use internally to streamlining data processing and reducing costs, for example by adopting cloud computing.

So, what is a digital transformation strategy?

To ensure an effective digital transformation, you need a plan of attack. For legacy brands, changing the way things have always been done can be a difficult and time-consuming process. New businesses already have a head start on the competition when it comes to being digitally savvy, as it is native to them. They know the importance of mobile devices and aligning physical experience with digital from the get-go.

Take London-based start-up Deliveroo, for example. Founder and CEO, Will Shu, recognised a gap in the market for restaurants that don’t offer a delivery service. He provided a solution for ordering and tracking food straight to your door via your mobile. While food delivery is not ground-breaking by any means, this model disrupted the industry and made it simple for customers to get what they want, all thanks to digital.

Meeting downstairs

To build your digital transformation strategy, it’s helpful to break it down into manageable steps. You won’t become a digital disruptor overnight, but the right strategy will ensure you’re well on your way.

Step #1: Get everyone on board

Any strategy is doomed to fail if everyone isn’t bought into it. As digital transformation touches every part of the business, every single person in your organisation needs to believe in it. It may be difficult to convince key stakeholders that a transformation is even necessary, especially in older, more traditional businesses, but these are the people who need to help make it happen.

Once the executive team understands the importance of digital transformation, this needs to permeate throughout the entire organisation, from the leadership team to each employee. Create a dialogue between the team and a space where people feel comfortable asking questions, as there will undoubtedly be plenty of them.

Step #2: Do your research

Now, it’s time to do your research. In order to satisfy your customers, you need to understand them. Get to know their online habits – what do they search for, what devices do they use, what do they like to buy, how many times do they browse before making a purchase? Start by studying user journeys in Google Analytics and if you’re still struggling for information, just ask your audience. Only when you understand how your users behave digitally can you create a transformation strategy that will work.

Writing in notepad

It’s also a good idea at this stage to grasp what your competitors are doing, but don’t get too fixated on them. Disruption can come from anywhere, at any time, so overanalysing the competition won’t be as beneficial as simply taking an idea and running with it. There is an implicit fear with digital transformation that someone will beat you to the punch – the only way to ensure that doesn’t happen is to be the disruptor!

Step #3: Align your goals

Once you’ve got buy-in from the whole company and understand your audience, it’s time to align your business goals with your digital transformation strategy. Undoubtedly, your business will have goals that are unrelated to digital, so it’s a good idea to find a way to integrate them. Defining overall objectives for your strategy will help to drive transformation at every level of the business, particularly if there are KPIs associated with it.

It’s also a good idea to have a mixture of long-term and short-term goals to ensure the strategy keeps moving. Maybe you’d like to reduce expenditure by moving to the cloud or expand your customer reach across digital channels? You’ll probably want to increase leads or sales, while you’re at it, and improve turnover. A calculated digital transformation strategy can help you achieve these goals.

Step #4: Keep implementing change

Arguably the most important step to ensure the success of your strategy, you need to continually embrace change. Digital is always moving, so you have to keep up. Embedding this quality in your company culture, like we do with our core values at Storm, will ensure everyone is receptive to transformation and will help sustain it into the future.

Craig and Brad smiling

Having a rough timeline for your strategy will also help to keep the ball rolling. Integrate your targets into it and use these to benchmark your progress over time, but don’t be afraid to mix things up if your strategy isn’t working out the way you’d hoped. Continually assessing your audience and their needs will ensure you react timely to change and stay ahead of the curve.

Disrupt or be disrupted

Digital transformation is inevitable. In the age of technology, businesses must disrupt or be disrupted. A comprehensive digital transformation strategy will help to ensure you are in the best position to embrace disruption and continually meet your audience’s rising expectations.

Our digital transformation consultants can help guide you through each of these steps, providing a smooth transition for your company and customers alike. Get in touch with the team today to discuss your journey with us.

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